More collisions, but fewer injuries at Fredericton roundabout
Crashes at high-speed Ring Road intersections more likely to cause injury
More collisions happened at the Smythe Street roundabout than in any other place in Fredericton last year, but it is not the most dangerous spot.
That title could easily go to the Ring Road and Brookside Drive intersection.
Jon Lewis, Fredericton city traffic engineer, said that in 2018, the roundabout had the highest number of collisions at 21, but only one person was injured.
At the Ring Road and Brookside Drive intersections, there were seven accidents, and seven people were injured.
"At Ring Road and Brookside, there are high speeds," he said. "There could have been multiple people injured in a single collision so it's not necessarily that every collision had injuries, although I believe most of them [did]."
The second-highest number of collisions happened at Ring Road and Maple, with 20, followed by Smythe and Prospect with 14, Regent and the Regent Mall entrance with 12 and Regent and Arnold with 11.
Lewis said the number of collisions causing injuries has gone down in the last few years, but the number of collisions has remained steady.
The second highest number of people injured occurred in accidents at Regent Street and Regent Mall entrance with three, Regent and Costco entrance with three, and Hanwell and Prospect with three.
Lewis said the numbers show that the Smythe Street roundabout's accident-to-injury ratio is a good sign.
"Generally those are very low severity given the design of the roundabout," Lewis told Information Morning Fredericton. "Kind of your typical sideswipe collision."
But in an intersection, accidents are more likely to be more severe because of T-bone collisions and high-speed red-light runners.
At these intersections, "A left turner is misjudging a gap, for example, when they're trying to turn left against opposing traffic," Lewis said.
"It's also common that people are rear ending other drivers while making right turns."
He said drivers running red light, especially at high-speed intersections such as the one at Ring Road, are not rare.
"When collisions do happen they tend to be of a higher severity given the speed involved," he said. "The kind of T-bone type [accidents] would likely be reduced if we saw less people running red lights."
What the city can do
Lewis said the city is looking at options to reduce accidents, such as creating more roundabouts, educating drivers and increasing enforcement by using red-light cameras, for example.
"I'm not a fan of just having red-light cameras everywhere, but where they show that there's a problem, from the data, that it could potentially address that."
Lewis said there were two fatalities last year, one at the Hanwell Road and Prospect Street and one at Ring Road near Royal Road.
He said accidents are prompting city officials to consider making changes to the Hanwell and Prospect intersection, similar to the ones at the intersection of Regent and Prospect streets.
"We're looking at what we can do to upgrade," he said.
Regent and Prospect used to be one of the most dangerous intersections, but two years ago the city added a left-turn-at-signal lane and right-turn islands that reduced the number of collisions by more than half, Lewis said.
Not a full picture
Lewis noted that the statistics kept by the City of Fredericton only include collisions that were reported to police or caused more than $1,000 damage. That's why the numbers he can provide may not tell the full story of collisions or accidents in the city, but they definitely include the severe ones involving police.
"It's very well possible that there was, you know, even smaller, a little scuffs, and that type of thing that never would have got reported," he said.